$17,376 - $18,825

2016 BMW i3 Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2016 BMW i3 was new.


Interior: 7.9

The 2016 BMW i3 uses premium materials throughout its elegant interior, according to reviewers. Some of the materials, such as the wood trim, are either recycled or made from renewable resources. The seats are comfortable and provide adequate room, and the i3 has more cargo space than some rival EVs. The iDrive infotainment system is user-friendly.

  • "Yet, even if you forget all about the high-tech construction and powertrain, the i3 is actually a nice car. There's a classy looking interior, solid build quality and an impressive amount of practicality." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • "About as roomy as the automaker's larger 3-Series, the i3 is designed to emulate the midsize 5-Series in terms of the premium feel its cabin provides. To that end, BMW selected upmarket materials, 25 percent of which are composed of either recycled or renewably-sourced materials. For example, the Eucalyptus wood trim used in its dashboard was 'responsibly forested.'" -- Left Lane News (2015)
  • "There is none of the stripped-out, tinny feeling found in many EVs. BMW's ground-up approach netted acceptably low poundage without having to scrimp on noise insulation and the like." -- Car and Driver (2014)


The 2016 i3 seats four and comes standard with cloth upholstery and heated front seats. Leather upholstery is available. The rear-hinged door design and flat floor make it easy to enter and exit the vehicle for most passengers, though getting into the back seat may be tricky for some because of a high step up. The front seats are comfortable, and the rear seats offer sufficient legroom and headroom. The ride is quiet and driver visibility is good.

  • "Suicide-style mini rear doors combine with a low, flat floor to give the i3 excellent access and a feeling of spaciousness inside." -- Left Lane News (2015)
  • "The front seats are comfortable and their raised positioning gives the driver excellent outward visibility. In back, the two-person rear seat offers decent legroom and plenty of headroom. There's also a wide opening to get in and out of (or put your personal items on one of the backseats) thanks to the i3's rear-hinged access doors. But getting in the back is a two-step process, as you must open both side doors to get back there. Also, getting in and out of the backseat isn't easy for taller passengers, as the i3's opening isn't all that tall." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • "Happily, it's also supple and quiet in normal driving, making for an unmistakably luxurious experience." -- AutoTrader (2015)
  • "Its rather high step in can make getting inside -- especially the rear via the carriage doors -- a bit awkward. Once settled, though, the seats are comfortable and the rear seat is roomier than you might first believe. Rear passengers will have to contend with a large black pillar to their left or right, but the peculiar vertical shape of the rear windows counters that aspect with a good view out." -- Kelley Blue Book (2014)

Interior Features

Standard features in the i3 include automatic climate control, push-button start, Bluetooth, HD Radio, satellite radio, a USB port, adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors and the iDrive infotainment system with navigation and a 6.5-inch display screen.

Available features include a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, a rearview camera, parallel park assist, front and rear parking sensors, forward collision warning and collision mitigation.

The iDrive system is responsive and its menus are well-arranged. Its controller is also generally easy to master. The shifter can be confusing, however, as it is easy to mistakenly put the car into the wrong gear.

See 2016 BMW i3 specs »

  • "Despite all the high-tech gizmos, most of the i3's functions are rather easy to learn and use, aided by BMW's much-improved iDrive interface with available touchpad functionality." -- AutoTrader (2015)
  • "As unusual as the cabin is, though, there's still a typical BMW array of climate and infotainment controls. The latest version of BMW's iDrive controller is pretty easy to use thanks to straightforward menus, crisp graphics and quick processing times." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • "BMW's iDrive remains somewhat difficult to use, but the i3 version is better than previous implementations. The response time is quick, but we did have a hard time figuring out where exactly to click for various settings and items." -- Autoblog (2014)
  • "If you own this and another BMW, you're always going to be confused by the shifters. We very nearly smacked the wall in a parking garage when we shifted into reverse, thinking it was drive." -- Car and Driver (2014)


The 2016 i3 has 15.1 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up and 36.9 with them folded. The i3 offers more cargo space than some other hybrid electric vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt and Spark. It also features rear seats that fold flat and a normally shaped cargo area, whereas many other EVs do not. The i3 has good interior storage space for small items.

  • "Cargo capacity is on the small side. … Unlike in most EV competitors, though, the rear seats fold flat and the trunk space itself is unfettered by oddly shaped, protruding panels. We also like how there's plenty of interior storage for water bottles or other small items." -- Edmunds (2015)

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